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Young people’s careers ‘kickstarted’ in the NHS

Chelsea Denny

Young people are being given a chance to kickstart their careers thanks to a programme taking place in hospitals in mid and south Essex.

Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust is working with partners to provide six-month training placements to 13 young people, all aged 16 -24 and who were on Universal Credit, as part of the Kickstart Scheme.

It gives the opportunity for Kickstarters to see how busy cancer departments work at Basildon, Broomfield and Southend hospitals. They are working in administrative roles, carrying out tasks including answering phone calls from patients and arranging appointments.

Chelsea Denny, 20, from Chelmsford, is helping with administration in Haematology at Broomfield Hospital. She was born in the UK and educated in the Philippines, but knew that she needed to build on her qualifications to secure a job in the UK.

Chelsea said: “It’s amazing to see the doctors and nurses working together with us in administration to help our patients. As well as my role in Haematology, I’ve been supporting the Bereavement Office, which will give me the skills to work in other departments such as palliative care. The programme’s flexibility also means I can look after my young daughter.” 

Others have gone on to secure a permanent job after completing the scheme. Azaria Mead, 20, from Southend, now works in the Strategy Unit. She joined the Trust as a Kickstarter in 2021 having trained as a chef, but realised that although she loved cooking she did not enjoy the anti-social hours that went with the job.

Azaria said: “I thought the NHS was only about giving care, I didn’t know about all of the admin support and the technical side to healthcare. The training I received on the Kickstart scheme really improved my skills and gave me confidence when I applied for my next job.”

Emma Chaplin, Lead Cancer Nurse at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust said: “We’re really happy to welcome the new Kickstarters. They have shown that they are keen to learn and support their colleagues in the cancer teams with the care they provide to our patients. Administration staff are often the unsung heroes of our workforce, and it shows just how many roles there are across our hospitals in both clinical and non-clinical areas.”

Kirsti Walters, the Project Coordinator at Essex Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, said: “We were proud to be the lead partner for the Kickstart Scheme, placing 134 young people in total across five NHS Trusts. So far, 82% of those that have completed their placement have found jobs both within and outside the NHS. The scheme has been successful as it has helped young people gain valuable work experience and reach their potential in the workplace.”

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